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Cashing out food stamps: Impacts on food expenditures and diet quality


  • Barbara Devaney
  • Thomas Fraker


On July 1, 1982, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico implemented a cash food assistance program, known as the Nutrition Assistance Program, as a replacement for the existing Food Stamp Program. The Nutrition Assistance Program differs from the former Puerto Rico Food Stamp Program in two important respects: cash replaced coupons as the form of issuance and eligibility standards and benefits were reduced to bring program costs into line with a reduced funding level. Based on household food use survey data collected before and after the introduction of the Nutrition Assistance Program, this paper examines the program's impacts on household food expenditures and diet quality. The results of the analysis indicate that the cashing out of food stamp benefits in Puerto Rico had virtually no impact on food expenditures and diet quality, while restrictions on eligibility and benefits under the Nutrition Assistance Program caused a decline in the money value of food used at home of about 2 percent and reductions in the availability of food energy and five specific nutrients ranging from 1.8 to 3.2 percent of the adult male Recommended Dietary Allowances.

Suggested Citation

  • Barbara Devaney & Thomas Fraker, 1986. "Cashing out food stamps: Impacts on food expenditures and diet quality," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 5(4), pages 725-741.
  • Handle: RePEc:wly:jpamgt:v:5:y:1986:i:4:p:725-741
    DOI: 10.1002/pam.4050050404

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    Cited by:

    1. Grogan, Louise, 2018. "The Labeling Effect of a Child Benefits System: Evidence from Russia 1994-2015," IZA Discussion Papers 11962, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    2. Rachel Griffith & Sarah Smith & Stephanie von Hinke Kessler Scholder, 2014. "Getting a healthy start? Nudge versus economic incentives," The Centre for Market and Public Organisation 14/328, Department of Economics, University of Bristol, UK.
    3. Beth Osborne Daponte & Amelia Haviland & Joseph B. Kadane, 2001. "To What Degree Does Food Assistance Help Poor Households Acquire Enough Food?," JCPR Working Papers 236, Northwestern University/University of Chicago Joint Center for Poverty Research.
    4. Hanson, Kenneth & Golan, Elise H. & Vogel, Stephen J. & Olmsted, Jennifer, 2002. "Tracing The Impacts Of Food Assistance Programs On Agriculture And Consumers: A Computable General Equilibrium Model," Food Assistance and Nutrition Research Reports 33831, United States Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service.
    5. repec:bri:cmpowp:13/328 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Breunig, Robert & Dasgupta, Indraneel & Gundersen, Craig & Pattanaik, Prasanta, 2001. "Explaining The Food Stamp Cash-Out Puzzle," Food Assistance and Nutrition Research Reports 33869, United States Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service.
    7. Bishop, John A. & Formby, John P. & Zeager, Lester A., 2000. "The effect of food stamp cashout on undernutrition," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 67(1), pages 75-85, April.
    8. Philip M. Gleason & Anu Rangarajan & Christine Olson, "undated". "Dietary Intake and Dietary Attitudes Among Food Stamp Participants and Other Low-Income Individuals," Mathematica Policy Research Reports 7de7096e094445cba404d4e97, Mathematica Policy Research.
    9. Janet Currie, 2003. "U.S. Food and Nutrition Programs," NBER Chapters,in: Means-Tested Transfer Programs in the United States, pages 199-290 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

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